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Star Wars Prequels

+ - U.S. to Shut Down High Energy Laser Facility?

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An anonymous reader writes "HELSTF, the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands, New Mexico, USA, is facing a grim future due to proposed cuts in the 2008 fiscal year budget. Some of you may know that HELSTF is home to the MIRACL, or Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser, dubbed the most powerful laser in the free world. The MIRACL was used extensively in the mid 1980's as a testbed in support of America's Star Wars laser weapons program. The proposed cuts would bring an end to a distinguished 25-year career for the site, with no replacement capability on the horizon. Worse yet, aside from over 130 potential jobs lost, countless sharks would be looking for a new gig. . ."
Space

+ - Boeing Dreamliner Concerns are Specious->

Submitted by SoyChemist
SoyChemist (1015349) writes "On the most recent edition of his new show, Dan Rather reported that the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft may be unsafe. Since then, dozens of news agencies have jumped on the bandwagon. Most of them are reporting that the carbon fiber frame may not be as sturdy as aluminum. Few have bothered to question Rather's claims that the composite materials are brittle, more likely to shatter on impact, and prone to emit poisonous chemicals when ignited. While there is a lot of weight behind the argument that composite materials are not as well-studied as aircraft aluminum, the reasoning behind the flurry of recent articles may be faulty. The very title of Rather's story, Plastic Planes, indicates a lack of grounding in science. Perhaps the greatest concern should be how well the plane will hold up to water. Because they are vulnerable to slow and steady degradation by moisture, the new materials may not last as long as aluminum. Testing them for wear and tear will be more difficult too."
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